Tag Archives: healthy baking

More five-minute artisan bread tales

peasant-bread1I’m currently making the peasant bread dough from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day” and am having much more success. The dough is much wetter and bubblier — perhaps in my initial baking experiment, the dough was too dry, hence the super dense, underbaked dough. The crust is crackling and crispy and I cannot wait to taste the inside.

The latest batch — a baguette and a boule — are now baking in the oven, filling the apartment with that absolutely intoxicating fresh baked bread smell. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm…….

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Posted by on March 13, 2009 in Breads


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English Marmalade Chocolate Cake

When I was in Santa Barbara a few weeks ago, I made this lovely chocolate cake filled with orange marmalade as a special treat. It’s not quite as dense as a Sacher torte, but rather has a nice, fluffy crumb and a deep chocolate flavor. Super easy to make.

Adapted from Enlightened Chocolate by Camilla V. Saulsbury

English Marmalade Chocolate Cake

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

8 oz of canned pumpkin, butternut squash or prune puree

3 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp grated orange rind

2 eggs

1 oz finely chopped unsweetened baking chocolate

1/2 cup jarred orange marmalade


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine flours, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a medium bowl whisk together buttermilk, canned pumpkin, water, vanilla, orange zest, and eggs until well-blended. Using an electric mixer set on low, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

4. Place the unsweetened chocolate in a small cup and microwave 45 seconds. Stir until melted and smooth and add to the batter. Beat the batter until blended and smooth.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

6. When cool, invert the cake onto a cake platter or plate and slice in half horizontally. Spread orange marmalade on bottom layer. Replace top. Feel free to frost with your favorite chocolate frosting!

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Posted by on February 10, 2009 in Chocolate, Cupcakes and Cakes


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A Twist on Holiday Cookies: Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Let’s face it: everyone is sick of sugar cookies. Yeah, they’re beautiful, but by the time the 10th coworker brings some into your office, you can take it no more. Please, you beg, bake something else.

So here you go. This is a recipe from Enlightened Chocolate by Camilla Saulsbury, quite possibly my favorite dessert book ever (and a wonderful gift from a fabulous friend in Baltimore, may I add). These cookies are a little spicy, a little cinnamon-y and utterly delicious. Bake a bunch for yourself, or be a good person and bring them to the office. Everyone will thank you profusely.

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch of salt

5 Tbsp butter

7 Tbsp unsweetened cococa powder (not Dutch-process)

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup plain low-fat or Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Mix the flours, spices and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the vanilla extract and yogurt.

3. Mix the sugar-butter mixture and flour mixtures until completely combined.

4. Drop by level tablespoons onto the cookie sheets and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until almost set. Cool completely and enjoy!!


Posted by on December 11, 2008 in Chocolate, cookies, Holidays


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Chocolate Blackout Cake with Milk Chocolate Ganache

This chocolate cake is dark, luscious — and healthier than your usual egg-and-butter heavy cakes! Get the best cocoa powder you can afford; gourmet cocoa powder can make a huge difference in the quality of your chocolate cake.

We’re making this cake tonight for my sister’s 22nd birthday. Twenty-two may not be the most exciting of birthdays, but it sure deserves a big, rich hunk of chocolate cake.

Chocolate Blackout Cake

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbsp baking soda

1 Tbsp baking powder

2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups of egg beaters

1 Tbsp quality vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk (low fat)

1/2 cup butter (1/2 stick)

1 cup pear butter (feel free to substitute apple or pumpkin butter here)

1 cup strong coffee (I used French press coffee for the darkest, richest flavor)

1/2 cup raspberry jam


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F) and spray cooking oil on 2 10-inch round cake pans.

2. Sift the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a medium bowl.

3. In another bowl (or in the bowl of a stand-mixer), cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla, buttermilk and coffee until completely mixed.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until well-combined.

5. Pour into the cake pans and bake 45-50 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

6. Let the cakes cool completely. Slice off the top of one of the cakes so that it is completely level.

7. Spread the raspberry jam on top of the leveled cake. Top with the second cake.

8. Pour the chocolate ganache over and serve! (Recipe for ganache below):

Milk Chocolate Ganache

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

4 oz. regular chocolate chips (again, try to get the best quality)

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

8 Tbsp heavy whipping cream

2/3 cup confectioner’s or baker’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler.

2. Pour into a medium-sized bowl when melted and add the whipping cream and vanilla. Beat (with a hand-mixer or in a stand-mixer) until completely combined and slowly add the sugar until you’ve reached your desired amount of sweetness. Mix in the vanilla. Whip until fluffy.

3. Spread on top of the chocolate cake.

If not eating the cake right away, refrigerate.

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Posted by on November 25, 2008 in Cupcakes and Cakes


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Quick Cookies, Muffins and Pancakes, Oh My!

I have recently become a huge fan of the Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking and Pancake Mix (don’t live near a Trader Joe’s? Don’t fret — many health food stores have a similar multi-use baking mix on their shelves). Yearning for some healthy chocolate chip cookies? Want some pancakes or waffles on Sunday morning?

This mix makes baking super simple. It’s like using a pre-made cake or cookie mix, but because you add some of the ingredients, you can control how much sugar and fat you’re using. Plus, you control the mix-ins!

Thus far, I’ve made chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies, a multigrain fig quick bread, a blueberry coffeecake and chocolate-chip banana pancakes. Yes! All with one mix!

Here’s the deal: The mix includes flour, oats, baking soda and baking powder, a little oil, buttermilk, oat and wheat bran, a little sugar and salt. The basic ingredients for many healthy baked goods. You only need add a little more sugar, some butter/oil/applesauce for moisture and the goodies!

Here are some of my favorite recipes using this mix:

Blueberry Walnut Coffeecake

1 cup soymilk

Juice from one lime

1 egg

2 Tbsp Spectrum Spread or butter

2 and 1/2 cups of Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking Mix

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 and 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

1/2 cup walnuts


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and coat an 8 by 8-inch pan with cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, add the lime juice to the soymilk until it curdles (if you don’t like soymilk, you can skip this step and just use 1 cup of buttermilk).

3. Stir the egg, melted butter/Spectrum Spread, and sugar into the soymilk mixture and mix well.

4. Add the Multigrain baking mix and stir until the flour mixture is barely moistened.

5. Fold in the blueberries and walnuts.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean.

7. Allow the pan to cool for at least 15 minutes and serve!


Chocolate-Chip Banana Pancakes

2 and 1/2 cups Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking Mix

1 cup soymilk

2 eggs

2 Tbsp melted butter or Spectrum Spread

1 mashed banana

1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

1 cup chocolate chips


1. Preheat a saute pan or griddle on medium heat and lightly coat it with butter or oil.

2. Mix of the ingredients together, being careful not to overbeat, lest you want tough pancakes!

3. Using a spoon, carefully ladle about 2-3 Tbsp of batter into the pan to create a nice, round pancake. Keep the griddle on medium heat so that the pancakes don’t burn.

4. When a few bubbles appear on the top surface, flip the pancakes over. Your pancakes should be lightly golden brown and cooked on the inside. If you still have raw batter on the inside, cook a little longer before flipping.

5. Serve warm!


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Sunday Morning Treat: Banana-Oat Pancakes

Banana bread is one of my favorite quick breads. Creamy, sweet, crumbly — there’s nothing quite like it. This pancake recipe is reminiscent of freshly baked banana bread. Unlike most banana pancake recipes, where the bananas are sliced and topped onto the batter, here, the bananas are mashed right into the batter, resulting in a delicious sweetness.

From The King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook:

Banana-Oat Pancakes

3 small bananas, mashed

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup oat flour (you can order this from the King Arthur site)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)


1. Stir together the mashed bananas, butter, lemon juice and sugar in a medium bowl. Beat in the eggs.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, baking soda, salt and spices.

3. Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir in the walnuts. Let it sit for 10 minutes.

4. Heat up a griddle or skillet on medium-high heat. Spray generously with cooking oil.

5. Drop 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle or skillet until bubbles begin to form and then flip pancakes.

6. Serve warm!


Posted by on August 10, 2008 in Breakfast


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Taste of Summer: Apricot Clafoutis

Summer is here, which means apricots, plums, peaches and pluots galore. When I worked at Fairview Gardens, I used to bring home box upon box of peaches, which made for the sweetest, juiciest jam I’ve ever tasted.

Apricots, peaches and plums and all of their hybrid combos are ideal for pies, crumbles, slumps and tarts, but why not impress your guests and serve this easy-but-sophisticated French dessert instead? Clafoutis is traditionally made with cherries, but one can easily substitute another stone fruit. A baked layer of eggs, flour and sugar covers a spread of perfect summer fruit. Heaven.

As expected, I’ve lightened up the recipe here, so this isn’t the traditional melange of ingredients. I’m sure you’ll find that the taste is still fabulous and your waist will thank you as well 🙂

Apricot Clafoutis

7-8 ripe apricots, pitted, halved

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs + 3/4 cup egg beaters (or 6 eggs total)

1 and 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour

2/3 cup fat free plain yogurt (you can use low-fat, too)

1 tsp. vanilla


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (170 Celsius). Cover a deep pie pan or rectangular ceramic dish with cooking spray. Line the pan or dish with the apricot halves, placing the cut part face down.

2. In a large bowl, whip together the eggs and sugar until it becomes a foamy, mousse-like mixture. I used a Cuisinart stand mixer with the whip attachment, but you could easily use a hand mixer.

3. Add the yogurt and vanilla extract and whip until well combined.

4. Add the flour into the egg/yogurt mixture a little bit at a time until it is well mixed in.

5. Pour the egg/flour mixture over the apricots in the baking dish and bake until a skewer inserted comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Serve warm… Delicious with a little bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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Posted by on June 4, 2008 in Fruit Desserts


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Chocolate Banana Lunchbox Cake

Moist, chocolatey and crumbly, this is one of my favorite cakes. Unlike most cakes, which call for half a cup or more of butter, this one relies on vegetable oil alone. As a result, it’s not going to be quite like the rich cakes featured in fancy bakeries, but for an afternoon snack or a late dinner munch, it works just perfectly.

Chocolate Banana Lunchbox Cake

1 cup cake flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 very ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup buttermilk

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 honey or agave syrup

3 Tbsp. canola oil

1 egg + 1 egg white

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Combine the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg and egg white and add the mashed banana. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar, honey, vegetable oil and vanilla extract and whisk until well combined.

4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold until just combined. Do not overmix! Fold in the chocolate chips and pour into the bundt pan.

5. Bake about 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the cake comes out clean.

6. Let cool and then turn the cake out onto a plate. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve!


Posted by on June 2, 2008 in Cupcakes and Cakes


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